Message from Father Langan, October 16-17

October 16-17

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

Arrogance-ambition-resentment—and shock! These are the vices that jump out at us in today’s Gospel passage from St. Mark. And from whom do they emanate? No less than the chosen disciples of the Lord. Because these men were up close and personal with Him, we tend to idealize these important characters. But characters they certainly were. In reality, they were a rough and, as we see, a self-promoting bunch whom our Lord had to hone into men ready to lay down their lives for Him and the sake of the Gospel. Their spiritual journey was a process of on-going conversion and, most likely not the time of their own deaths, had they reached the point of no longer living for themselves but for the Lord. Our own lives may follow a similar pattern. We want to be close to Jesus, in fact, we revel in it, but always there looms the temptation to “shine in His sight”. Surely, whatever “shine” there may be is not from us, but from His grace shining through us. Our effort is to make sure that nothing obstructs or dims the grace Our Lord so freely gives.

And how do we do that?

Make a good confession.

With Blessings

Father Langan

22

Message from Father Langan, October 9-10

October 9-10

Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

Very often in today’s world a person’s identity and worth are “measured” by their intellectual accreditations and acquired possessions.  We may think that this is particular to our own day and age, but not so.  Even in our Lord’s days on earth people were “evaluated” based on the prestige of learning and material wealth.  After all was not the question posed: “…where did He get all this, and is not His father a carpenter?….”  The very epitome of Wisdom was evaluated and critiqued because He lacked formal education as a rabbi.    What we glean from this is that wisdom is not necessarily an attribute of the super educated.

In the course of my life I have happily encountered wisdom amongst those who through no fault of their own received little, if any, formal education, but nonetheless are deep wells of unfathomable wisdom.  In fact, many children in their holy innocence can baffle us with their gift of perception and on the point questions that can leave an adult at a loss of words.  Wisdom comes from God the Holy Spirit and as well know the Spirit “blows where He wills!”

On our part we ask God to give us the openness of heart and mind to discern the movement of the Spirit in or midst.  We should not be inundated or overwhelmed by those who claim to be the “experts”.  Wisdom is known by the humility in which it is spoken, and that is the only way to truly discern its validity.

May holy wisdom descend upon us all as we daily reckon with the conundrums that come upon us.  Come Holy Spirit, come.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan October 2-3

October 2-3

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Each year the Church in the United States celebrates October as Respect Life Month, and today we celebrate Respect Life Sunday.  This is a time we can use to deepen our understanding of why, as Catholics, we “Respect life” and what that looks like day-to-day.

We are also in the midst of celebrating the Year of St. Joseph.  So, this year, we are looking to the witness of St. Joseph as a defender of life.  He didn’t hesitate to follow God’s will of faithfully caring for and protecting Jesus and the Blessed Mother.  St. Joseph’s example reminds us that we are also to care for, protect, and defend the lives of our brothers and sisters.

In the Bible, we see that St. Joseph makes sacrifices out of his love for Jesus and Mary.  Over and over, he shows himself to be a faithful protector of them both.

After an angel of God appeared to St. Joseph in a dream, he welcomed Mary into his home, even though her pregnancy was mysterious.  On the long road to Bethlehem, Joseph guided and provided for Mary and the unborn Christ Child.  He welcomed Jesus as his own son in a humble stable and loved Him with a father’s heart.  When the infant Jesus’ life was threatened by Herod, Joseph left the comfort and familiarity of his homeland and fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to protect Him.  And as Jesus was growing up, He learned from Joseph to do the will of the Father.  In every circumstance, St. Joseph cared for,  defended, and protected the gift of life that had been given by God.

During this Respect Life Month, we can start to become more like St. Joseph by asking ourselves a few questions and reflecting of them:  Do we realize how precious every person is?  As we go about our day, do we treat people accordingly?  How can we help those in our society who are struggling to welcome new life, like moms who are pregnant or parenting in difficult circumstances?  How can we reach out to those having a hard time seeing the worth of their own lives?  How do we reassure those at the end of life who are afraid they are a burden or feel like their lives don’t having meaning?

At times, we may feel like we can’t make a difference or that we’re unequipped for what God is asking of us.  But St. Joseph “teaches us that faith in God includes believing that he can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses”.  When human life is threatened, when our brothers and sisters need support welcoming or embracing life, may we lovingly respond with the faithfulness of Joseph.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, September 25-26

September 25-26

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We continue our contemplation of the essential and fundamental belief we have in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.  These days there in much division among people.  Good intentioned solutions are being offered by well-meaning folks but unfortunately, they have it all wrong.  Unity can only come when we looked to, listen to, and follow Christ.  He is the source of all unity since He made us to be one as He and the Father and the Holy Spirit are One.  All that lives, whether visible or invisible, comes from God the author of life.  We start here.  Since there are those who do not recognize this fact how can there be unity.  Division has already raised its ugly head and will continue its destructive advance until truly enlightened minds are united in this basic principle of life.  Unless we are together in this affirmation, what is there to talk about?

Next, we recognize that there is possible and necessary union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  As we read in Sacred Scripture: What God is there so close to His People as the God of Israel is to us ?”  How much closer or more united could we be than in the Holy Eucharist?

To better understand this Holy Union let us look the encyclical of Pope Francis entitled Lumen Fidei (June 29, 2013):

 “The truth which faith discloses to us is a truth centered on an encounter with Christ, on the contemplation of His life and on the awareness of His presence!  St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of the Apostles –Faith Which Sees!–in the presence of the Body of the Risen Lord.  With their own eyes, they saw the Risen Jesus and they believed; in word, they were able to peer into the depths of what they were seeing and to confess their faith in the Son of God, seated at the right hand of the Father.

It was only in this way, by taking flesh, by sharing our humanity that the knowledge proper to love could come to fruition.  For the light of love is born when our hearts are touched and we open ourselves to the interior presence of the beloved, who enables us to recognize His mystery.  Thus, we can understand why, together with hearing and seeing, St. John can speak of faith as touch, as he says in his First Letter: ”  What we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life (1 JN 1:1).  By His taking flesh and coming among us, Jesus has touched us and through the Sacraments He continues to touch us even today; transforming our hearts, He increasingly enables us to acknowledge and acclaim Him as Son of God and Lord of Life.

The Sacramental character of faith finds its highest expression in the Holy Eucharist.  The Eucharist is the precious nourishment for faith: an encounter with Christ truly present in the supreme act of His love, the life-giving gift of Himself.”

Is not this, my friends, the most important means by which unity can be effected amongst us?

With Blessings, 

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, September 18-19:

September 18-19

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This week we make the transition into the beautiful season of Autumn.  As sweaters and jackets are pulled out of closets and daylight wanes  we note a transition taking place in Our Lord’s mission as recorded in today’s Gospel.  He and His disciples leave the relatively placid surroundings of the Galilee for the hectic bustle of Jerusalem.  Things, as they say, “will start to heat up”.   Our Lord will more and more remind His followers the reason for His coming in the flesh of humanity, namely, “to pay the price for our sinfulness”.  Many do not want to hear that and so they turn their attention to other matters such as “who is the greatest”… change the focus and avoid the reality.  This seems to be a common occurrence in our modern times.  We, of course, know that as painful as reality may be from time to time, we must face it with the courage that comes from the presence of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.  We must not shut Them out or divert our attention to things that will not give the peace we need.

“I am with you always”, says the Lord.  That Holy Presence can and does get us through everything, even sickness and death.  The most intimate Presence of Our Divine Lord is in the worthy reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist.  How one who has indeed received Our Lord in the Eucharist and may presently absent themselves from His glorious Presence is a sad and truly self-defeating attitude.  To allow the distractions of the world rather than the attraction of Christ to dictate one’s path is a road that leads to nowhere.

Yes, we are in a time of transition.  Let us take a lesson from Mother Nature.  As the earth prepares to receive its rest and be receptive to what is necessary for its renewal may we do likewise as we open ourselves to God’s saving grace in the Sacramental life of the Church. 

A reminder that next Sunday we will be commissioning our Catechists at the 10:30 Mass as we commemorate Catechetical Sunday.  These fellow parishioners have volunteered for the awesome work of educating, along with parents, our children in the ways of Faith.  As parents lead by their good example in weekly participation at Holy Mass and family prayer, e.g. grace before and after meals, family Rosary and other devotions, our devoted catechists enliven the Faith of our young ones as they grow in love and knowledge of the Lord.  It is a cooperative work of God.

This Thursday is the memorial of Padre Pio.  On Sunday, the 26th, we will renew our prayer group in his honor and call upon his intercession especially for the sick and suffering, those who are so dear to his heart.   Our worship begins at 2:30 in St. Mary Magdalen and concludes about 4:00 P.M. with Vespers and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, September 11-12

September 11-12

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This time of the year and in particular this weekend our minds turn to the horrific attacks of 9/11.  We mark the 20th year since our nation and our world has been so radically altered and the feelings and emotions are still, and will probably always be, so raw and sorrowful.  There is however, a resilience that is part and parcel of our American spirit and our Faith sustains us and helps us not to be paralyzed but continue to affect good in spite of evil.  This is the grace of God at work in us. 

The state of the world today may cause us to lose hope.  Tragedy in Afghanistan, especially the 13 service men and women who lost their lives in trying to do good for people they did not know; hundreds of innocent Afghans seeking freedom from cruelty and oppression whose lives have been lost; an uncertain future for many stranded behind enemy lines; and the most recent loss of Navy personnel off the coast of California, can not only weary us but make us numb to one bad thing after another.  There is indeed the temptation to lose hope and cry out, “where are You Lord?”  Despair is anathema to the spirit of Christ within us.

It is not always easy to foster hope if we only set our eyes on the things of this world.  Always, always we must keep our focus on Jesus.  Especially when life gets out-of-sorts, our gaze must not turn from the Crucified One.  We live in the shadow of the Cross – the great sign of contradiction, which restores our hope in ourselves, our humanity and our world.

We keep ever in our prayers those who make the ultimate sacrifice to guard us and keep us safe from those with evil intent.  Make God watch over them always and let no harm come to them.  We are grateful for their service.

 Are sincere gratitude to all who made our annual flea market a great success.  We are indeed grateful to all who made contributions and it seems that this year there were more than usual amount of donations.  Thanks to Martha Bergesen and all the’ busy bees’ that put together and helped to sell those beautiful items.

Blessings on all of you,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, September 4-5

September 4-5

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Continuing with our reflection on the Most Holy Eucharist we turn our attention to Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation “Sacramentum Caritatis” given on February 22, 2009.

“In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to meet us and desires to become one with us.  Eucharistic adoration is simply the natural consequence of the Eucharistic celebration, which is in itself the Church’s supreme act of adoration.  Receiving the Eucharist means adoring Him whom we receive.  Only in this way do we become one with Him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy.  The act of adoration outside of Mass prolongs and intensifies all that takes place during the liturgical celebration itself.  Indeed, only in adoration can profound and genuine reception mature.  And it is precisely this personal encounter with the Lord that then strengthens the social mission contained in the Eucharist, which seeks to break down not only the wall that separates the Lord and ourselves, but also and especially the walls that separate us from one another.

I heartily recommend to the Church’s pastors and to the people of God the practice of Eucharistic adoration, both individually and in community.  Great benefit would ensue from a suitable catechesis explaining the importance of this act of worship, which enables the faithful to experience the liturgical celebration more fully and more fruitfully.  Whenever possible, it would be appropriate, especially in densely populated areas, to set aside specific churches or oratories for perpetual adoration.  I also recommend that, in their catechetical training, and especially in their preparation for First Holy Communion, children be taught the meaning and the beauty of spending time with Jesus, and helped to cultivate a sense of awe before His Presence in the Eucharist.

Dear Parents, in meditating on these words from Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, consider the promises you made at the time of your child’s Baptism to raise them in the love and practice of the faith.  What could be more beneficial for their souls than, along with weekly participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, you would bring your loved ones into the Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharistic Chapel?  I am sure that you and they would be enveloped in a peace and joy that you have never experienced before and that your family life will be enriched and prosper beyond your imagining.   He is always there waiting for you and if you think, mistakenly, that there is no time in your hectic schedules just try it and see what graces the Lord has waiting for you.  

With Blessings,

Fr. Langan

Message from Father Langan, August 28-29

August 28-29

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Sadly and unfortunately, Father Sahd will be leaving us this coming Monday, August 30th.  This devoted and hardworking priest has endeared himself to the members of this parish and will be greatly missed.  Father Sahd, long before he came to Honesdale, has determined that God is calling him to serve the Church in a monastic community where his future will be totally in the Lord’s hands.  We can only wish him the very best and pray that the Lord who has already done great things with him will continue to bring them to fulfillment.

In my 44 years as a priest and thirty years as a pastor these past 30 some months with Father Sahd have been pure joy.  He literally waited on me hand and foot during my recovery from surgery and has always gone beyond what was expected in service to the parishioners and neighbors alike.  His boundless energy and joyful spirit brought untold comfort and consolation to so many.  His deeply mystical and spiritual life brought us all closer to the Lord.

As Father Sahd embarks on the next phase of his journey with the Lord may he go with the assurance of our profound love and affection for him.  He will be forever in our prayers until, God willing, we meet again in the eternal banquet of the Lord.  Farewell dear brother and friend.

God in His goodness, of course, has not abandoned us.  We are indeed blessed to have another enthusiastic and selfless priest to minister to God’s people in the person of Father Dominic Sabi.  Many of you have already had the good fortune of meeting and getting to know Father Dominic.  We hope that he has a long and enjoyable ministry in these hills of Wayne County.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, August 21-22

August 21-22, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Sunday we joyfully celebrate the 150th Anniversary of St. Joseph Church in Rileyville.  An occasion such as this makes us pause and reflect on the innumerable blessings that God has bestowed on this community in northern Wayne County.  Though our church may be tiny it is filled with people with big hearts.  The fervor of Faith at St. Joseph is realized in the parishioners who give so much of their time and treasure to keep this jewel shining brightly.   With the completion of the roof and the outside painting the church is even more radiant than before.  New sidewalks will keep us steady underfoot and the cultivation of the grotto garden draws our visitors and parishioners alike to a serene and prayerful encounter with the Lord.  Take great pride in your beautiful and inviting church. And thanks to all ,who in such a short time, have risen to the task of making this anniversary memorable.

A thousand thanks to all who help prepare the church, the hall, and the grounds.  Despite all the restrictions due to Covid, our choir under the direction of Betty Ann Rutledge, was able to come together to lift our voices in praise and assure Bishop Bambera of the vibrancy of Faith in these hills.  Thanks for all the effort in preparing for the Pontifical Mass.  Women of Altar and Rosary went above and beyond in getting everything in pristine shape.  We are truly grateful for all their good work.

Our contractors under the direction of Augie Stile worked diligently, in spite of weather restrictions, to complete as much as possible. I am sure everyone will agree that the renovations have lifted the profile of our church in which we take great pride.  Again, thanks to all mentioned and unmentioned for all the good work you do for the greater glory of God and the building up of our community of  Faith.

With Blessings,

Father Langan

Message from Father Langan, August 14-15

August 14-15, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This past week we have been blessed to welcome our newly appointed Assistant Pastor, Father comes to us from Ghana in West Africa.   His Bishop has commented that in the past our country has sent many missionaries to Africa and now is the time to return the favor by sending missionaries to the US.  For this we are truly grateful.  Father Dominic , by the providence of God could not have come at a better time.  Father Sahd has been laid up with the flu and, as we say in the Navy, Father Dominic has “hit the deck running”.

We pray that Father Dominic will have a fruitful and joy-filled ministry here in our parish and help us to more appreciate the magnificence of the Catholic (Universal) Church to which we belong.

We continue our meditations on the Most Holy Eucharist:

From Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004).  Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  Both the public and private devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist even outside Mass should be vigorously promoted, for by means of it the faithful give adoration to Christ, truly and really present, the High Priest of the good things to come (Heb 9-11) and Redeemer of the whole world.  “It is the responsibility of sacred pastors, even by the witness of their life, to support the practice of Eucharistic worship and especially exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species.

The faithful should not omit making visits during the day to the Most Holy Sacrament, as proof of gratitude, a pledge of love, and a debt of the adoration due to Christ the Lord Who is present in it.  For the contemplation of Jesus present in the Most Holy Sacrament, as a communion of desire, powerfully joins the faithful to Christ, as is splendidly evident in the example of so many saints.  “Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, a church in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved should be open to the faithful for at least some hours each day, so that they can spend time in prayer before the Most Holy Sacrament”. (Code of Canon Law, 937)

With Blessings 

Fr. Langan